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Technical fire alarm question / More on dead beats
November 11,  2019
More on dead beats
            I have some dead beat clients that have your signed contract in force that I'd like to collect from.
            What’s our procedure?
            If you use the Standard Form Agreements K&K will support you to enforce the agreement.  K&K’s collection department has extensive experience pursuing alarm subscribers who have defaulted.  Tens of thousands of actions and proceedings; we’ve been at it for over 45 years.  We’ve seen and heard it all.  
            Before deciding whether to go after your subscriber you should make some assessment whether there is a possibility of collection.  Some subscribers end up having difficult times and just can’t afford the payments.  Some of these should never have signed up in the first place, and others developed problems after signing up.  
            So sort out the “dead beats”, who are best defined as those subscribers who can afford to make the payment but just want to “beat you”.  This subscriber is worth pursuing.  A subscriber who had no business entering into the contract because of lack of means to make the payments may be another type of “dead beat” but only if the subscriber knew full well that future payments were not intended.  Unless your sales person duped this subscriber into the deal you may want to pursue the collection, but actual recovery may be difficult.  
            You want to consider the cost of collections.  K&K will take the case on “contingency”, which means we retain 1/3 of what we recover, but you have to cover the expenses.  Arbitrations generally run $125 to a few hundred dollars and if you prevail it could run a few hundred dollars to confirm the arbitration award, unless the subscriber makes payment after the award is made.  The advantage of arbitration is that we can get the matter started usually the same day you send it to use.  The case often settles within days after you send it to us.  For the cases that don’t, the arbitration process usually takes less than 90 days.  If a subscriber still doesn’t pay once an award is made [assuming you win] then the award is confirmed in your local court; you are entitled to additional legal fees on top of the legal fees that were awarded in the arbitration.
            Bottom line, K&K will guide you if we think the case is worth pursuing or you should consider letting it go.  Ultimately it’s your decision.  
            To get started with K&K contact Ella Reynolds at 516 747 6700 x 321 or  Concierge Clients can contact the Concierge Program Coordinator Stacy Spector,Esq, at 516 747 6700 x 304 or  Clients who have worked with our Contract Adminitrator Eileen Wagda can also contact her at 516 747 6700 x 312 or  Talk to Eileen about updating your contracts.  
Technical fire alarm question
            This question comes up for us all the time and I get different answers depending who I ask so I wanted to get your thoughts…
            We are bidding a job at a hardware store that’s located in a really old building.  It’s mostly just intrusion sensors but they want to add 10 smoke detectors as well.  I’d rather not use a separate commercial fire panel for the smoke detectors.  I would prefer to just put them on the DSC Neo panel we are already installing.  The DSC Neo panel is not commercial-fire rated but, since code does not require fire protection in this building, I don’t think that should matter.  What say you?
 Matt M
            I want to defer to the fire experts.  How about some help here?
            I might be too influenced by New York City regulations [designed to keep the electricians busy].  In NYC my understanding is that once you put fire in a building it has to comply with code and fire alarm regulations; there is no such thing as a “voluntary” fire alarm system that doesn’t have to comply with code or fire alarm regulations.   
            That’s not to say that there aren’t commercial premises that do not require a fire alarm, or commercial premises grandfathered in with what would be a non-compliant fire alarm system by today’s standards.  But once you modify the existing fire alarm system or install a new one you are going to have to comply with all current fire alarm standards.
            This of course is not how it’s done all over the country.  Some jurisdictions have surprisingly few regulations other than state wide building codes, and I don’t know if all states even have those.  
            You make a few assumptions that I cannot confirm.  You say code does not require this building to have a fire alarm.  Apparently it doesn’t have a fire alarm.  You are adding intrusion sensors and I assume the DSC Neo panel supports those sensors.  I don’t know if that panel supports smoke detectors.  Let’s assume you can get that panel to report smoke to the Monitoring Center.  Let’s assume the AHJ doesn’t bother you.  How about your contracts?
            It’s your contract with the subscriber that’s going to dictate your responsibilities.  The Commercial All in One will cover the intrusion sensors, but not the smoke detectors.  The Fire All in One has provisions for this kind of situation.  The Fire All in One has a check box where the subscriber acknowledges that the fire detection devices do not constitute a fire alarm and certainly not a fire alarm to code.  The Fire All in One should give you the contractual protection you will need in the event of a fire loss.
            But I don’t think we should end the analysis there.  And this is where the fire alarm experts come in.  I don’t know how responsible or irresponsible it would be to use the DSC Neo panel for the smoke detectors.  If those panels are not suitable, and you know it, you could be accused of gross negligence or willful misconduct.  If that’s the case many of the protective provisions in the contract won’t be enforced; a situation you should avoid if possible.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301